Page 7 of 12
Application of the Year: Tableau v3.0
Tableau v3.0 is a breathtakingly simple-yet-powerful data analysis toolset that, once deployed, permits data to be sliced, diced and viewed from every angle in a friendly, graphical interface. Developed by Academy Award-winning Stanford Professor Pat Hanrahan (a Pixar founder of "Toy Story" fame) and colleague Chris Stolte, Tableau 3.0 takes visual analytics to new heights.
Here's how it works: Tableau permits the creation of dashboards where users can create multiple views of data using live links. The dashboards are not separated by a tier as with other enterprise business intelligence (BI) dashboards. And they're not Web components that run apart from BI middleware. The dashboards are directly linked to Tableau's engine. The data is live, it's dynamic and it's grouped into a single framework.
What makes this application friendly to any business user is that it allows data to be viewed and manipulated with drag-and-drop ease. A set of data—like store sales on a Saturday and Sunday—can be analyzed by product, by time of day, by discount levels or sales rep. Solution providers don't have to provide extensive training or hand-holding.
Tableau Professional Desktop, with analysis and visualization features, connects to all Tableau supported data sources and supports Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP, 2003 or 2000. It's not a hog, either: it requires only 35 Mbytes of free disk space.
Any data visualizations created in Tableau Desktop can then be published to Tableau Server and shared via a Web browser. The company is also offering a Web portal, which connects its dashboard views directly into Tableau Server and its worksheets. No other business intelligence tool on the market is as flexible or as easy to use as Tableau.